Sometimes you need to look outside the automotive industry to learn a compelling lesson about great customer service. Case in point: while I was recently on vacation with my husband in Huatulco, Mexico, a stranger reminded me of why “person” is one of the 4Ps of Automotive Marketing™. Here’s the story:
My husband and I are huge fans of all-inclusive resorts and have visited one annually in Mexico for the past eight years. On our most recent vacation to Huatulco, Mexico, we ventured out of our resort to visit the small town of Crucecita. I was looking for a tour to learn more about the town. Small businesses are everywhere in Crucecita, and all the shop keepers were standing outside begging us to, “Come look inside, just for a minute.”
We were approached by a man wearing a Canadian Flag t-shirt (this is a highly sought out vacation destination for Canadians) who introduced himself as Jordan. He took us to the shop he worked in and introduced us to his co-worker Jorge, who immediately sized us up as staying at Secrets resort. I asked Jorge, “Wow, how do you know that with so many other resorts?” He replied, “You aren’t wearing a bracelet, and you don’t have kids with you. So, it was a good guess you were staying at the adult only resort.” He immediately earned our respect because of how quickly he read us, and he began offering us tastings of local grasshopper salt, Mezcal, and mole sauces.
Our Personal Concierge
Jordan earned street cred immediately with his no-nonsense approach to negotiating on our behalf. He never asked us for any money and genuinely enjoyed showing us around his town that he has proudly lived in the past six years. Everyone we passed in town said hi to Jordan. It was almost as if we had our own custom-guided tour with a local celebrity.
Jordan was like a personal concierge. Whenever anyone in our group of four made a purchase, he immediately grabbed our bags and stored them at his store so we would not have to carry them. Jordan took us in and out of local businesses, introducing us to all the owners like we were his old friends. When we asked Jordan for a restaurant recommendation for the best tacos in town, he delivered. When we expressed interest in renting a boat for up to 16 people, Jordan made a phone call, and ten minutes later, two men arrived, speaking very little English but happily handing over their phone to show photos of the two boats they had available for the following day. We negotiated a price nearly half of what was quoted at the resort.
During the negotiation for our tour, I heard my mom’s voice in my head saying, “if it’s too good to be true it probably is.” But we threw caution to the wind and followed our new friend Jordan to an ATM to pay him for half of the cost of the boat rental. Jordan continued our tour by taking us through town stopping at a corner store to provision the boat for the following day. He then took us to the local church where we were greeted with hundreds of townspeople celebrating Our Lady of Guadalupe Day (their name given to the Virgin Mary). They celebrate her every year and roast hogs to share with the people of the town for free, and we happened to luck out visiting on this day! The church was beautifully painted with bright colors, and the ceiling was painted with the Virgin Mary extending the entirety of the church. Ending our day, Jordan hailed us a cab, gave us his cell phone number, and told us he would meet us at the dock at 9:30 a.m. the next day.
A Memorable Tour
The following day, we hailed a cab, excited to spend the day on a 33-foot fishing boat named Fortuna. Jordan greeted us wearing an American flag shirt (he had learned the day before that our group represented Chicago, Houston, Grand Rapids, and San Diego) with a huge smile and invited us to follow him down the dock to the boat. Once aboard, we saw the two men we met the previous day, ready to take us out for the day. We toured the different bays and fished along the way. We were a lucky group as we caught four tunas. We pulled up to a bay full of beach bars and restaurants, and out came a dinghy to bring us to the beach. We went with Jordan to a beach bar, and they took the tuna and cooked it over an open fire three ways for us, ceviche, garlic and spicy. Plates of homemade guacamole came in rounds to our table. We returned to the dock as the sun is setting and thanked Jordan for a wonderful trip. A few of our other friends aboard the boat met up with Jordan the following day to have the city tour we had with him.
Why Did We Trust a Stranger?
I have shared this story with many and quite a few have asked me, “What made you trust Jordan?” A number of reasons stand out:
- He sought first to understand us and what we wanted. He didn’t try to sell us anything. He let us guide him.
- As we learned right away through his interactions with other people, he was obviously a well-known, well-liked member of his community.
- He provided a valuable service. He acted like a personal concierge to make the experience easier, more fun, and less expensive.
If you work in sales, are you doing the little things to win over the customer? Are you finding a way to connect with them, or are you focusing on making the sale? Do you offer to guide the customer through the purchase process and go the extra mile, even though you don’t need to, like good concierges do? After all, there is no sale until two people on the lot shake hands. And for that moment to happen, two people need to establish trust. Strive to be a memorable part of their shopping experience, and you will win additional business from word of mouth just like Jordan did!